Shane Bieber dominated Detroit and the Guardians wore down the Tigers’ pitching as Cleveland opened up their final Motor City road trip with a 5-2 win Tuesday night.
Austin Hedges broke a scoreless stalemate in the fifth inning, scoring Owen Miller from third on a sac fly to give the Guardians a 1-0 lead. Back-to-back doubles by Steven Kwan and Amed Rosario in the sixth inning made it a 2-0 advantage, and that was all the damage Cleveland’s lineup could manage against Detroit starting pitcher Tyler Alexander. He survived seven solid innings by inducing a lot of weak contact, as the Guardians struggled to square him up.
Cleveland broke the game open as soon as the Tigers turned it over to their bullpen. With two outs and Rosario and Kwan on first and second, respectively, Oscar Gonzalez drilled an RBI double over the head of Willi Castro in right field to score both baserunners and extend the Guardians’ lead to 4-0. Josh Naylor made it 5-0 with an RBI single to shallow center field.
On the mound for Cleveland, Bieber was as good as he has looked all season. The Tigers had no answer for his knuckle curveball, which recorded a 58% CSW% on the night. He pitched seven shutout innings, only allowing four hits and one walk while notching eight strikeouts. Bieber didn’t allow more than one baserunner in the same inning until the seventh, when he gave up a leadoff single to Miguel Cabrera before walking Jeimer Candelario on four pitches. But even then, Bieber retired the next three hitters to strand them and keep Detroit off the board.
Shane Bieber, Dirty 86mph Slider...and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/D10HHtXZUf— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 9, 2022
Guardians starting pitchers have now pitched 21 consecutive scoreless innings, with Cal Quantrill and Triston McKenzie contributing to that stretch on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
James Karinchak took over for Bieber in the eighth inning and promptly tore through the Tigers, needing only eight pitches to retire the side. Unfortunately, Eli Morgan couldn’t do the same in the ninth inning, bringing the Guardians to the brink of disaster even after being handed a 5-0 lead. He gave up back-to-back singles and then issued a four-pitch walk to load the bases with no outs. To his credit, Morgan was able to retire the next two batters but then walked in a run, forcing manager Terry Francona to bring in Emmanuel Clase to get the third out. Clase allowed a run to score on a wild pitch before ultimately closing it out on an Akil Baddoo groundout.